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History of the Maumelle Lions Club: 2001 to 2015

February 9, 2015

Highlights

The Maumelle Lions Club was chartered in February 2001. Fred Peyton was the Charter President and Marilyn Henderson the Club’s Guiding Lion. Linda Curry, the 7N District Governor swore the Charter Members in at BJ’s Restaurant on Charter Night.

The Club has had 13 Presidents since its Charter, including Charter President Fred Peyton, Dick Babeu, Doug Ladner, Larry Coy, Patrick Jones, and David Ward.

Early meetings were held at Outlook Point and regular meetings have been held at Lolita’s Tex Mex Restaurant and at the Maumelle Community Center – with meals catered from Kroger. Special meetings, such as banquets and Christmas Dinners, have been held at Bona Sera, Señor Tequila, Cock of the Walk, the Maumelle Country Club, and the Park on the River.

The Club has conducted a number of fundraising activities as it matured, including car washes and a Beer Garden. Recycling aluminum cans and an annual fish fry are the major fundraisers now.

The funds raised have been used to support a variety of Service Projects. In the wake of the 2014 tornado in Mayflower, the Club donated over $6,000 for disaster relief. 

Lastly, the Club has enjoyed numerous informative programs at its regular meetings. Charter Members recalled several that were special to them, including Col. Lynn Davis’ presentation about taking on gambling and Hot Springs gangsters; Buddy Sutton’s programs on Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln; and Maumelle city officials discussing the state of the city.

The Maumelle Lions Club has and, more importantly, continues to make a difference in Maumelle. 

Our community is a better place to live, work, and enjoy because of the Club.

* * *

The Charter Date for the Maumelle Lions Club is February 12, 2001.

The organizational meeting was held February 8, 2001. The Club’s first meetings were held at Outlook Point. Fred Peyton was elected the Charter President and Marilyn Henderson was the Club’s Guiding Lion. Charter Night was celebrated at BJ’s Restaurant.

The North Little Rock Lions Club sponsored the new Club in Maumelle. John and Wanda Burnett helped establish the Club.

Much of the information about this history of the Club came from interviews with the five Charter Members and some of the specific details were drawn from Club records.  The highlights of the Club’s history cover Charter Members, Presidents of the Club, major Fundraising efforts, significant Service Projects, and memorable Programs.

Since the Club’s Charter in 2001, each member of the Club has been important to fundraising activities and visibility of the Club in the community.  Many members have joined the Club through the years and many have moved on and left the Club.  The members with the longest memories about the Club are its Charter Members, who joined the Club between February 1 and May 31, 2001.   

There are five Charter Members currently listed among the Club’s active membership.  The author interviewed each of them, and their thoughts form the foundation for this historical summary of the Club.  Like all members, each had a motivation for joining the new Lions Club or a recollection that reinforced the value of their membership.

  • John Ahlen worked in Little Rock and had previously been a Lion in a Little Rock Lions Club. He saw his membership in the Club as a connection to his community.
  • Dick Babeu recalled that as Club President he met a client of the Lions World Services for the Blind. She was about 40 years old and was not able to get a good paying job. After training at LWSB, she was going to go to work for the Internal Revenue Service.  She cried about her good fortune.
  • Richard Highley wanted to see people with sight and hearing challenges enjoy life.  Richard drove a woman – a lip reader – to Memphis twice so she could be tested for, and then fitted with, a hearing aid.  Richard asks, “What are you without your sight and hearing?”
  • Fred and Mary Peyton are Lions because We Serve. When he was the Club’s Charter President, Fred toured the Mid South Sight and Hearing facility in Memphis. He and other Club Presidents saw the microsurgery suite at Mid South.  A woman client told how her husband had locked her in a closet and that she lost the sight in one eye from a beating.  She made her way to Mid South where her sight had been restored by surgery. Mary remembers visitors to Club meetings who attended with their Seeing Eye Dogs.

The Board of Directors and elected officers are central to the operation of the Club and the membership as a whole brings resources and skills to the Club’s activities.  The President of the Club is the face of the Club to the wider community, provides a focus for Club activities, and provides leadership for the Club.  Members who have served as Club President include:

  • Fred Peyton – Charter President and 2001-02
  • Dick Babeu – 2002-03
  • Bob Taylor – 2003-04
  • Billy Lyon – 2004-05
  • Kathy Griffin – 2005-06
  • Doug Ladner – 2006-07
  • Arlen Griffin – 2007-08
  • Jamie Stell – 2008-09
  • Scott Lancaster –2009-10 and 2010-11
  • Larry Coy – 2011-12 and 2012-13
  • Julia Gilden and Patrick Jones – 2013-14
  • David Ward – 2014-15

The Club has held its regular meetings and Club Banquets at numerous locations in and around Maumelle. Early meetings were held at Outlook Point and regular meetings have been held at Lolita’s Tex Mex Restaurant and at the Maumelle Community Center – with meals catered from Kroger. The Maumelle Senior Center occasionally serves as an alternative meeting space. Special meetings, such as banquets and Christmas Dinners, have been held at Bona Sera, Señor Tequila, Cock of the Walk, the Maumelle Country Club, and the Park on the River.

Through the years, a variety of fundraisers have been used to raise money for different causes.

  • Aluminum Can Recycling: One of the earliest (as early as 2002) and longest running fundraisers for the Club is recycling aluminum cans. Bob Taylor was instrumental in starting the recycling effort and Sam Lamey lent his trailer to the Club. The first can trailer was parker at the old Kroger store.  The trailer was stolen and Sam donated the cost of the trailer to the Club. The second can trailer was also stolen.  The third can trailer is parked at the new Kroger store.  The Lions can trailer is often towed by the Club in city parades.
  • Cash Collections: The Club collected cash donations for the White Cane Program. Some members recall setting up a table and taking donations at the Wal-Mart in North Little Rock.
  • Car Washes: The Club held at least two car washes to raise funds. Kroger donated water and the car washes were held in the old Kroger parking lot.
  • Beer Garden: One year the Club set up a Beer Garden at Fourth Fest at Lake Willastein. It was difficult to keep the beer drinkers inside the fenced area, where they were required to stay while enjoying their drink.
  • Golf Tournament: the Club held a Golf Tournament at the Country Club of Arkansas, in Maumelle, on September 20, 2006.
  • Car Raffle: The Club conducted a car raffle in 2007 and 2008.
  • Kroger Cards: The Club participates in the Kroger Community Rewards® program as an ongoing fundraiser. 
  • Pancake Breakfasts: The Club held Pancake Breakfasts at the Community Center. The breakfasts were held monthly for nine months (from Fall through Spring) for nine years. Peyton Realty was a key sponsor. 
  • Breakfast with Santa: Annual pancake breakfast held in December.
  • Annual Fish Fry: Starting in 2010 the Club has held an annual Fish Fry at Lake Willastein.  ‚Äč

The Club has supported a variety of service projects and causes.  Support of vision and hearing assistance were and continue to be central to the Club’s activities. Service projects, in no particular order, have benefited individuals and organizations, such as:  

  • White Cane Program.
  • Arkansas Sheriff’s Youth Ranches.
  • America’s Walk for Diabetes – Participation and individual contributions.
  • Lions World Services For the Blind in Little Rock.
  • Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service in Memphis, TN.
  • Vision Screening at local schools.
  • Eye and Hearing Care for Individuals often includes financial support, but sometimes a Club member, for example, Richard Highley, would drive a patient to Memphis – twice – once for tests and again to be fitted with a hearing aid.
  • Hope Ministries in Maumelle.
  • Leader Dog Foundation.
  • Hometown Thanksgiving Program in Maumelle (2003).
  • Sponsorship of Little League Basketball and Baseball Teams in Maumelle.
  • Sponsorship of under privileged children to attend the Hot Springs Camp for the Blind.
  • Hope Alliance for Katrina evacuees in Maumelle.
  • Local Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund administered by Maumelle Fire Department.
  • Equipment for the School for the Blind.
  • Lions International Disaster Relief Fund. 
  • Disaster Victims from the 2014 tornado ($6,000) in Mayflower and 2014 flood ($500) in Maumelle.
  • Eye Glass Collections.

In addition to community service through fundraising for projects and causes, the Club’s regular meetings provide fellowship during meals and information from guests who present programs.  There have been numerous memorable programs and the Charter Members recalled several of particular interest.

  • Col. Lynn Davis, retired director of the Arkansas State Police (under Governor Rockefeller), spoke to the Club on January 25, 2010 about his book They Said It Couldn’t Be Done, in which he wrote about taking on gambling and Hot Springs gangsters.
  • Buddy Sutton discussed all that we owe Winston Churchill with the Club on August 10, 2009.
  • Buddy Sutton visited the Club again on July 12, 2010 and spoke about Lincoln and the Civil War.
  • Maumelle Mayor Mike Watson presented a “State of the City” address to the Club on February 26, 2007.
  • Maumelle Fire Chief George Glenn gave a presentation about the Maumelle Fire Department on March 12, 2007.  
  • Maumelle Police Chief Sam Williams visited the Maumelle Lions Club at its August 28, 2006 meeting and talked about his yearlong service in Iraq, where he helped train Iraqi police.

The Maumelle Lions Club has and, more importantly, continues to make a difference in Maumelle.  Our community is a better place to live, work, and enjoy because of the Club.

 

 

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